Mark Suchyta Dissertation Proposal Defense: Social and Environmental Influences on Subjective Well-Being

Thu, October 15, 2020 11:00 AM at via Zoom

MSU Sociology PhD student Mark Suchyta presents his Dissertation Proposal Defense entitled "Social and Environmental Influences on Subjective Well-Being"

Committee:Tom Dietz (Chair)
Linda Kalof
Aaron McCright
Richard Lucas (PSY)


Abstract: The question of what constitutes a good life has been addressed by scholars from ancient philosophers to contemporary social scientists. One significant avenue through which scholars are currently examining this question is research on subjective well-being, a broad term that refers to how individuals evaluate the quality of their own lives. Most research on subjective well-being has been in the fields of psychology and economics. While these disciplines provide a large and rich literature, there is a need for work grounded in sociological theory that is attentive to how environmental factors and social inequalities influence subjective well-being.

In this dissertation, I hope to further our understanding of social and environmental influences on subjective well-being. This includes the influence of positive experiences in the environment, such as spending time in nature or with non-human animals, as well as negative experiences, such as living in a polluted environment. I will also be attentive to how social factors, such as class, gender, and race and ethnicity influence subjective well-being. The majority of this dissertation research will draw upon high quality survey data from MSU’s State of the State Survey and the Gallup World Poll. I will merge this individual-level data with contextual and environmental data on counties, states, or nations, as appropriate. To complement the analysis of secondary data, I will also conduct a nationally representative survey of my own design through Qualtrics.